Unpack

If you know me you know I am ridiculously passionate about children. I have always been. Growing up I’d endlessly talk about teaching and play time was strictly limited (by me of course) to “teacher”, “house” and occasionally “wrestling” (because I grew up with ALL boy cousins).

My mom’s favorite stories of me growing up include the time she asked me what I wanted to be in the future,when I was about 4, and my automatic “I just want to be a MOM” response (she told me that I should want to be more than that but I argued that that was all I wanted) and the time when I was upset with my oldest sister and angrily shouted “Ok, well when I grow up I WON’T be teaching your kids” (because to me, this was the ultimate threat, in my mind it would be their loss NOT to have me as their future children’s teacher).

Children have always been my topic of interest and teaching has always lit my heart on fire.

I love the idea of shaping and encouraging the little (big) minds and hearts of tomorrow. 

When I think about a classroom of children , I envision the potential, personality types and specific gifts/visions/dreams placed inside these tiny bodies.

Sometimes (with my nieces and nephews or even kids that I have or do work with) I like to sit back and just simply observe.

Believe it or not, I’ve learned so much just by watching kids be kids.

They remind me to walk in the creativity that God gave me (and all of you!).

My heart specifically gravitates towards the “peculiar” kids. The ones that speak in fairy tales and add a cape to their outfit on casual days, the ones that can draw 1,000 squiggly lines and interpret the picture in hundreds of ways, the ones whose minds can see black and white in rich and vibrant colors.

One of the things that saddens me the most is when these children (or any other) aren’t allowed the time and space to imagine and create. As adults we tend to limit that which we don’t understand, especially when it comes to the little ones around us.

Now hear me out, I’m not saying that we should support every creative process a kid has because let’s face it, some of those moments can be dangerous

but in a world that tries to make people carbon copies of each other I believe we should be intentionally fighting to preserve uniqueness.

Instead we do the opposite.

We get upset when kids think differently.

My sister told me a story she heard the other day that helps me paint a better picture of this.

“Everyday a teacher would put up a picture on the board. The children will draw whatever was on the picture trying to mimic it. One of these days she chose a flower. Every student got to work and when the class was done every child’s drawing looked very similar to what was on the board. A lot of them drew what looked like a flower, a lot of them even used the same colors that were in the picture.

All, except one.

She chose to draw a flower in her own way, in her own colors. The teacher approached her, questioning why her drawing didn’t look like the others and under appreciating her work. This saddened her.

And the next day she drew exactly what was on the board. And the next day. And the next day.

She learned to limit her creativity and to not express all of her thoughts. It wasn’t until years later, through the help and encouragement of another teacher, that she realized that she left her creativity in a BOX, inside that classroom”

Whether it was Intentional or unintentional the approach of one adult led this young girl to adjust the way that she thought and processed the world around her to fit into a mold, BUT with the help of another adult she was able to take her creativity out of the box she had stored it in and start walking in it.

Which adult do we want to be?

“Research demonstrates that it is the most creative children who are the least likely to become teacher’s pet…. Teacher’s tend to discriminate against highly creative students, labeling them as troublemakers. In response, many children quickly learn to get with the program, keeping their original ideas to themselves.” -Adam Grant **

This can apply to more than just teachers.

Children learn to “adapt” to fit into the mold created for them. In situations like this Children learn to keep their ideas to themselves. These same children grow up to be adults that have convinced themselves that some of their ideas are just “too crazy” or “won’t work”.

There are HEAVENLY ideas trapped inside the minds of adults who learned to stuff their creativity in a box when they were younger.

There are world-changing visions inside the minds of the kids around you, these visions may look different, they may not be what you expect, they may sound pretty crazy, they may not fit the norm… And it is OUR job to steward them well.

OUR job, as in ALL of us!

Not just parents, not just teachers, but uncles and grandmas and friends and doctors and cousins and any one who is around or connected to children period.

Two questions to think about TODAY:

  1. What are some ways that you are feeding the creativity within you?

(Side bar: Please don’t give me the left/right-brained excuse that “some people are born creative and some aren’t” GOD, the CREATOR who’s very nature is to be CREATIVE, made us in HIS IMAGE therefore creativity runs in our DNA)

2. What are you doing to steward the creativity of the kids around you?

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:4-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Ways to stay creative

Let’s unpack the creativity that we’ve stored away in a box and encourage our children and those around us to flow in their own creativity❤️

Kids

  • Finger paint, color, draw, doodle
  • Make up a Dance
  • Build a fort
  • Catch bugs
  • READ
  • DIY projects
  • Puzzles
  • Play dress up
  • Explore (a backyard, a museum etc)
  • Story telling
  • Make something from scratch

Adults

  • Talk to yourself (I’m a HUGE advocate for this, seriously guys this is SO healthy)
  • DIY projects
  • Make lists
  • Freewrite
  • Go on a walk; pay close attention to your surroundings
  • Listen to new music
  • Do something “kiddy”
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